Back to index Tamarack Lake Hike
Trip Date:  07/05/2011

: 7.8 Miles

Vertical Gain: 450'

Group Size: 5

Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate    Hard    Strenuous
Tamarack Lake Route
Tamarack Lake Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 50.063, W 120 02.641
or overflow parking at N 38 50.022, W 120 02.552
    End Coordinates:   Same as Start Coordinates
Car Shuttle Req'd:   No Parking Directions:   Take Highway 50 to just west of Echo Summit, and then turn onto Johnson Pass Road (Lincoln Highway) from the road (marked with signs to Echo Lake.)  Turn left on Porcupine Road, which becomes Echo Lakes road.  Follow this road to the parking coordinates.
Hazards of Note:   The first couple miles of the hike are along a very rocky section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Watch footing along this route. Crowd Factor:   Moderate to High.  This is a popular entrance into Desolation Wilderness and many of its most popular destinations.  Get there early on a weekend to find parking near the trailhead.
General Notes:
Find the trailhead at the south end of Lower Echo Lake, just past the lodge on the east side of the lowest parking lot.  There is a kiosk here for Desolation Wilderness permits.  Cross the metal bridge going across the lake outlet and pick up the trail from this spot.   NOTE:  During the summer you can choose to take the boat shuttle to the far end of upper Echo Lake from this spot for a nominal cost, and that will save you 2 1/2 miles each direction that you use this service.

Once you pass the Upper Echo Lake on the trail or from the end of the shuttle, you will see the Desolation Wilderness signpost indicating entrance into the area, and then the destination of Tamarack Lake is not far up on your left after a continued climb up to the elevation of the three lakes in this immediate vicinity.

Since this is a hike into Desolation Wilderness, you will need a day permit (free at the trailhead) and the group size limit is 12.

View of Becker Peak and Talking Mountain from the boat ride at the start of the trip. Boat Trip to the start of trail
A look back at Echo Lakes from the trail toward Desolation Wilderness. View of Echo Lakes from near start
A still mostly frozen Tamarack Lake with Mt. Ralson in the background. Mt Ralston and Tamarack Lake
A lot of water coming out of Tamarack Lake in the early summer. Rushing waterfall out of Tamarack Lake
Heading back toward Echo Lakes. Heading back toward Echo Lakes
A lot of water coming out of Tamarack Lake in the early summer. Crossing back out of the Desolation Wilderness
Partial view of Pyramid Peak from a cache location along the way. View of Pyramid Peak
The rest of the group waiting patiently while I searched for a geocache. Others waiting for my search
GPS track of the hike, including the boat trip on the way out to the lake. GPS Track of Hike